Favorite brands... deep discount!

Everyone loves a great sale but do you shop outlet stores? Have you ventured to an outlet mall in search of a great find only to see the stuff you're not really interested in? Actually New Jersey is full of outlet malls which seem to be packed but I've learned to stay away from them because I rarely find great deals unless you know what to look for. Also a hint to the change is the naming. These stores are rarely called outlets anymore but have adopted the factory store label instead. 
 Let me explain a bit further on the flip. 

Outlet stores aren't really there to sell you their latest and greatest a deep discounted price. It's a known industry secret actually. Factory stores in the past did stock items that were slightly damaged or left over merchandise and you were actually able to get really great deals but now the pendulum has swung and these outlet stores carry merchandise specifically produced for the outlet brand and although it may seem similar to what you would find in a regular store, it's not. Another secret is that the outlet brand merchandise is manufactured with less precision than the regular merchandise. this basically means that they spent less to make them and they may be missing some stitching or detailing which cost less. For example, I purchased this same identically designed shirt from J. Crew on sale for $19.00 last year during the end of the winter season and it's now online at the factory store on sale for $44.50. Where is the deal? 

There are deals though if you know where to look and as with the regular stores, if you hold out until end of season, you'll really be able to save because the factory store merchandise is sold at stepper discounts. I'm sure the same shirt will be $19.99 with an additional 25% off soon when they're looking to stock fall merchandise which should be rather soon. It's all in your level of patience. There are also slight changes in the specifications on these goods sold in factory stores. Some are as small as thread count. There may be a hem hidden in goods sold at the regular retailer where those similar goods sold at the factory store has the hem line exposed. These are all bearable and unnoticeable at first glance. One good trend I've noticed is the jewelry and shoes are both great deals! The shoes really aren't that much cheaper though than what you could find in your normal mall store but there may be other color options available in the factory stores. One example is this necklace. It's being sold online at the factory store for $24.50 and if you visited the normal J Crew store, it's similar or identical to their pieces from last season. It's just cheaper and trust me, I KNOW! LOL... I'm always shopping! I believe that these were sold on sale last season for around $35.00. Don't quote me on the exact price but it's definitely similar. Their designs this season is different but these are still great for less than $25.00. 

So if you don't mind hunting or slight variations ranging from color choices to detailing then get to shopping! I don't think it's a bad choice when comparing prices, I would definitely include your factory stores. Especially since they now have a great online presence too for most retailers. You'll still need to go to outlet malls for most stores but online factory stores are increasing. Gap and their brands all have online factory stores as well as J Crew which I used for the two examples above. Saks and Nordstrom are two big box retailers who have online stores. SaksOff5th and Nordstrom Rack are the names for these two department store retailers outlet brands. Let me know what you find and if you think you've gotten a great deal. 

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